Pros: easy to use, the price, enough functions
Cons: too small and hard to see for some
Two years ago I upgraded from my Casio camera to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 Digital Camera. I won the Sony Cyber-Shot and agreed to review it. I am an ordinary picture taker and consider taking pictures solely something I do for fun and for memories. I am not an expert in cameras in any way, shape or form.
What I got:
The Sony Cyber-shot SDC-W570 Digital Camera
A battery charger
A wrist strap
A rechargeable battery pack
A USB A/V cable
A CD called the “Cyber-shot User Guide” and Cyber-shot application software, which was easy to install.
An instruction manual
A one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
About the Sony Cyber-Shot:
Before I continue, let me tell you that when the camera came in the mail I put in the CD, read the manual and took a couple of pictures. It was then that I realized there was no memory card. Not to worry. For $5.00 I ordered a memory card.
I also want to note that during my first lesson and my second lesson I had to use a magnifying glass to read the manual. This leads me to the target audience. This camera is not for people with any kind of eye problems or problems with their hands.*
This is a tiny camera. It measures 3.58-inches wide by a bit over 2-inches high by ¾-inches deep. It weighs less than ¼ of a pound. Compare that to my Lumix, which comes in at a bit less than ½ a pound. I am not comparing these two cameras. They are apples and oranges and the price difference is about $275, with the Cyber-Shot coming in at about $125.00. I am mentioning the Lumix as a point of reference.
About the battery:
Before I even received my memory card I charged the battery. I left it the battery pack for more than the recommended four hours just because I forgot I was charging it. The battery will give me a bit less than two hours or about 220 pictures. In the record mode I can get about 100 minutes according to the literature. I have used the record mode but not for any length of time. I have never used a record mode for more than a few minutes. Perhaps if I had grandchildren I would.
Let’s use it:
Again before I continue I just want to note for my readers who know me that our precious, pampered 8-year old Pomeranian passed away suddenly about 5 weeks ago. We were hurting so much that we went out and got two Havanese puppies. I have pictures of them with my Lumix and was very anxious to take pictures with my Cyber-Shot because after all, there are a few items about a camera that are crucial to some of us: ease of use, cost, and picture quality.
The camera is so small that using the functions, for me, was not initially easy. I wouldn’t even suggest that my husband do anything except point and shoot – oh, that is what this camera is – that’s convenient. Is it truly point and shoot?
The memory card slipped right in next to the battery with a door that is easy to open and close. On top is the on and off button which makes a cute noise letting me now the camera is open. I love that, like my Lumix, the lens is covered when closed. The Cyber-Shot has more capabilities than I would have thought for a camera so inexpensive.
The flash is on the front top of the camera and the “take a picture” button is long and easy to access versus a small button.
The LCD screen is clear and even on a bright day I can easily see what I am shooting. Under the zoom switch are three icons. I move – well they aren’t exactly buttons but I don’t have a name for them – these plastic pieces up or down. Intelligent auto is on the top, then sweep panorama, and then auto.
Intelligent auto automatically detects and shoots with auto settings.
Program auto adjusts the color, sensitivity settings (which can be done manually and shoots with auto exposure.
The sweep panorama allows me to move the camera horizontally or vertically to shoot a panoramic image. There is a movie mode, a soft skin mode, which shoots my subject with more beautiful skin, soft snap for people and flowers, for example, with a background that might be blurred. This gives a softer atmosphere. The landscape mode uses a distant focus for a clear landscape; the twilight portrait shoots with a flash to balance what I am shooting and backgrounds that are dark and many others such as pets and the beach.
Other modes include easy mode, continuous playback, which plays back images without music or effects, display folder so I can display them by file, folder and date, retouch mode, and I can delete one images, all the images or the images on a the day I have taken the pictures.
There is a battery indicator, which shows up on the screen.
I love that there is a guide in the camera. I can go to the icon guide, a keyword guide, a shoot and playback guide, a troubleshooting guide, an objective guide or a history guide so in case I forget how to do something, this “cheat sheet” makes the Cyber-Shot a no-brainer camera with which to work.
Now to the most important aspect – the pictures.
My puppies are adorable. I have taken movie pictures of them on my Lumix and as I said still pictures as well. When I take movie pictures (again since I don’t have grandchildren) I prefer only the noise of the surroundings i.e., the sound of the ocean, the lightning bolts cracking and my puppies fighting each other over a toy. I find the sound to be fine. I really could not tell the difference between the Lumix and the Cyber-Shot when it came to the movie mode.
I must say that I have been truly surprised by the great quality of the pictures. I am happy with the color, clear shots of my puppies and everything else I have taken and the ease of putting them on my computer with Sony’s software.
Jo’s Final Thoughts:
I have no hesitation recommending the Sony Cyber-Shot. The price is amazing and the features are more than enough for those of us who just like to have fun with our cameras.
*I started out by saying that this camera will not do for those who can’t see well or who have trouble with their hands and I stand by that; however, although I fit into those categories, since I know what is what with the camera I have no problem using it. It just won’t be the best for the person with larger than average hands and initially you may need a magnifying glass to see the display/smiley modes on the traditional round wheel on the camera.